Why the old development strategy of import substitution has gained a new lease of life
进口替代这一老发展战略为何获得了新生

向内转 Turning inward-书迷号 shumihao.com

FOR THE past quarter-century, growth came so easily to the developing world that it can be hard to remember it was ever otherwise. Fuelled by globalisation, real GDP per person in emerging economies more than doubled from 1995 to 2019, in purchasing-power-parity terms. In advanced countries, by contrast, it grew by only 44%. The burst of growth consigned to the scrapheap decades’ worth of arguments about whether and how poor countries could catch up with rich ones. But explosive trade growth has ended, and the industrialised world is turning inward. Some governments are therefore dusting off old ideas. Among them is “import-substituting industrialisation” (ISI), a strategy that seeks to develop industrial capacity by shielding domestic producers from foreign competition. Many countries may feel they have little choice but to give the idea a try, but as the conditions that might allow it to succeed are generally absent in the poorest of economies, the revival seems doomed to fail.
过去25年里,发展中国家的增长实在是轻松,让人很难记起曾有过另外的情形。在全球化的推动下,按购买力平价计算,1995到2019年间新兴经济体的人均实际GDP增长逾一倍。相比之下,发达国家同期的增长率仅为44%。猛烈的增长使得几十年来关于穷国能否及如何赶上富国的争论变得毫无意义。但爆炸式的贸易增长已经结束,工业化国家正在向内转。因此,一些政府正把一些旧法子重新捡起来。其中之一是“进口替代工业化”,这种策略通过保护本国生产商免受外国竞争来发展自己的工业生产能力。许多国家可能觉得自己别无选择而只能一试,但由于最贫穷的经济体普遍缺乏可能让它成功的条件,这一旧策略的复兴似乎注定要失败。

Between 1990 and 2008, global trade as a share of GDP rose from 39% to 61%. This “hyperglobalisation”, as Martin Kessler and Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics dubbed it, facilitated rapid, broad-based economic expansion. After the late 1990s growth in incomes per head in nearly three-quarters of developing countries outpaced that in America, by an average of more than three percentage points a year. Global supply chains proliferated. Countries with a small industrial base, or none at all, could export manufactured goods by finding niches in production chains, following a shortcut to industrialisation.
在1990至2008年间,全球贸易占GDP的比重从39%上升至61%。彼得森国际经济研究所的马丁·凯斯勒(Martin Kessler)和阿尔温德·苏布拉曼尼安(Arvind Subramanian)称之为“超全球化”(hyperglobalisation),它促进了快速且广泛的经济扩张。90年代末以后,近四分之三的发展中国家的人均收入增速超过了美国,年均超出三个百分点不止。全球供应链激增。工业基础薄弱或根本没有工业基础的国家可以在生产链中寻找生态位而出口制成品,以此走上工业化的捷径。

The era of openness, however, is drawing to a close. The share of trade in world GDP fell after the global financial crisis; last year it was still below its 2008 peak. The level of world trade is forecast to fall by more than 9% this year. In America and Europe shortages of medical supplies and a souring relationship with China have rekindled interest in protecting domestic producers. But it is the biggest winners of hyperglobalisation, such as China and India, that are leading the way back to ISI. The share of foreign value-added in China’s exports fell by almost ten percentage points from 2005 to 2016; its government’s “Made in China 2025” campaign aims to make it self-sufficient in the production of many key goods. In India, Narendra Modi, the prime minister, unveiled a campaign for self-reliance as part of his pandemic-recovery package in May.
然而,开放的时代行将结束。全球金融危机后,贸易占全球GDP的份额下降,到去年仍低于2008年的峰值。今年世界贸易水平预计将下降超过9%。在美国和欧洲,医疗用品短缺以及与中国关系恶化令政府重燃保护本国生产商的兴趣。但是,最先重拾进口替代战略的是那些“超全球化”的最大赢家,如中国和印度。2005至2016年,国外附加值在中国出口中所占份额下降了近十个百分点。中国政府制订了“中国制造2025”计划,力求在许多关键商品的生产上实现自给自足。5月,印度总理莫迪推出了一项“自力更生”运动,作为其疫情恢复一揽子计划的一部分。

As poor-country politicians often point out when pressed by rich-world leaders to liberalise, many of today’s advanced economies practised elements of an ISI strategy as they industrialised. Alexander Hamilton, America’s first treasury secretary, used tariffs to protect domestic manufactures and reduce its dependence on Britain. In the 19th century European rivals worried that abundant British manufactures would stunt industrial development and leave them at a permanent military disadvantage. Governments erected tariff barriers and mobilised domestic capital, often squeezed out of the agricultural sector, towards state-supported industry. Russia and Japan followed western Europe in promoting domestic industry as a matter of national security.
富国领导人要求穷国的政客开放其经济,但正如后者常常指出的那样,今天的许多先进经济体在自己工业化的过程中也实践了进口替代战略的要素。美国第一任财政部长亚历山大·汉密尔顿(Alexander Hamilton)利用关税保护本国工业品,减少对英国的依赖。19世纪,欧洲的竞争对手担心大量的英国工业品会阻碍本国工业发展,令自己在军事上永远处于劣势。政府遂设立关税壁垒,并调动国内资本(通常是从农业部门挤出来的)使之流向政府扶植的工业部门。俄罗斯和日本曾效仿西欧,把促进本国工业发展当作攸关国家安全的事情来做。

Still, past experience also shows why the renewed interest in ISI may be misguided. Its intellectual heyday was in the 1950s, when economists like Raúl Prebisch and Gunnar Myrdal (the latter a Nobel prizewinner) argued against a laissez-faire approach to trade in developing economies. Their views were informed by the constraints of their era. Poor countries were desperately short of hard currency with which to obtain imports after the second world war. The replacement of some imports with domestic production was seen as a way to ration foreign exchange. More generally, advocates for ISI rejected the idea that specialisation and trade would leave every economy better off. Poor countries that stuck to their comparative advantage would remain exporters of primary products for ever, it was thought, never making the leap to industrialisation and the higher incomes it would bring.
不过,历史经验同样也告诉我们为什么对进口替代战略重燃兴趣可能是错的。这项政策在学术界的高光期是上世纪50年代,当时劳尔·普雷维什(Raúl Prebisch)和诺贝尔奖获得者纲纳·缪达尔(Gunnar Myrdal)等经济学家反对发展中经济体对贸易采取自由放任的态度。他们的观点受到自身所处时代的局限。二战后,穷国极度缺乏硬通货来获取进口商品,用国内生产替代部分进口被认为是一种节省外汇的办法。更普遍地看,进口替代战略的支持者反对专门化和贸易会让每个经济体都变得更富裕的观点。他们认为,固守自身相对优势的贫穷国家永远都会是初级产品出口国,永远不会实现向工业化的飞跃和随之而来的收入增长。

The flaws of ISI rather quickly became apparent, though. Many governments used it to bestow favours upon domestic industries based on political self-interest rather than rational economic calculation. The enthusiasts among economists lost interest. Tariff barriers left some countries nearly closed off to trade. Meanwhile, import-substituting economies in Latin America and South Asia fell behind a handful of others that opted instead to promote exports made with abundant cheap labour. Export-orientation was not a sure route to development; success stories like South Korea and Taiwan were rare before the emerging-market acceleration of the 1990s. Nor was it a laissez-faire endeavour; the governments of the Asian Tigers meddled extensively in their economies, subsidising favoured industries and firms. But global competition placed relentless pressure on exporters, forcing them to become more efficient and encouraging the acquisition of technical know-how. Those in ISI economies, sheltered behind high tariffs, tended instead to be small, inefficient and complacent.
然而,进口替代战略的缺陷很快就显现出来。许多政府用它来扶持本国产业,但却是出于政治私利,而非理性的经济考量。经济学家中积极支持该政策的人变得意兴阑珊。关税壁垒使得一些国家几乎与贸易隔绝。与此同时,拉美和南亚实施进口替代政策的经济体落在了其他少数几个经济体后面,后者选择借助大量廉价劳动力来促进出口。出口导向并不是发展的可靠途径。90年代新兴市场加速发展之前,像韩国和台湾这样的成功案例少之又少。而且出口导向也不是在践行自由放任:亚洲四小龙的政府都对本国经济做出了广泛的干预,补贴自己看重的产业和企业。但全球竞争给出口商带来了无情的压力,迫使它们提高效率,激励它们获得技术诀窍。而在实行进口替代政策的经济体中,那些躲在高关税背后的出口商往往规模小、效率低、故步自封。

A matter of great imports
事关重大

What does all this mean for the revival in ISI today? In economies with large domestic markets and capable states, import substitution may well allow governments to achieve strategic goals without nudging firms into growth-sapping complacency. China probably fits the bill. In India, with its poorer and less integrated domestic market, the strategy is riskier.
这一切对于进口替代战略在今天卷土重来意味着什么?对国内市场广阔、政府有能力的经济体而言,其政府很可能会借助进口替代实现战略目标,同时又不让企业陷入会削弱增长的自满情绪之中。中国很可能满足这些条件。而在国内市场更贫穷、一体化程度更低的印度,这种策略的风险更大。

In smaller economies with weak institutions, however, ISI-related policies are doomed to fail. The consumers, competition and technologies that developing economies can only find on global markets are a crucial prerequisite for their industrialisation. If the world’s biggest economies focus on their own strategic interests alone, they will deprive others of access to these precious resources—and the golden age of emerging-market growth will become an ever more faded memory. ■
然而,在规模更小、制度薄弱的经济体中,与进口替代相关的政策注定行不通。发展中经济体实现工业化的先决条件是消费者、竞争和技术,而这些只能在全球市场上找到。如果世界上最大的经济体只关注自己的战略利益,它们将剥夺其他经济体获得这些宝贵资源的机会——而新兴市场增长的黄金时代也将成为一段越来越模糊的记忆。